Additional courtrooms must be provided for new judicial appointees following the enactment of the Courts Act 2023, according to a Fine Gael Senator.
Senator Ward, Fine Gael’s Justice Spokesperson in the Seanad, said the Act has passed all stages in the Oireachtas and provides for 24 new judges to be appointed this year to all courts from the District Court to the Court of Appeal.
Raising the issue yesterday, Senator Ward called on the Justice Minister to ensure that there are enough courtrooms available to allow these new judges to do their work
“The McManus Report recommended an increase in the number of judges, but there must also be an increase in the infrastructure that supports those judges: court staff and, in particular, courtrooms where cases can be heard.
“I acknowledge improvements in technology in the courts and planned new court buildings in recent years. The 22 courtrooms in the Criminal Courts of Justice are all in use today, so where are new judges going to sit? These measures can benefit every community in this country, but only if the judges are able to do the work they have to do.
“We need to decrease the backlog and number of delays in the courts today. 24 new judges will go a long way to doing that, but we must ensure that they are equipped to do that and I am hoping that the Department [of Justice] will take real steps to use existing courthouses and court buildings in Dublin and throughout the country.
“The people affected by court delays are in every county, every town, every village, every Dáil Constituency in this country. As well as just technological advances, we also physical spaces to hear cases.
“The Minister has assured me that it is a priority for the Government to resource the courts to administer justice efficiently and effectively for members of the public in their access to justice in all areas of the law,” Senator Ward concluded.